CHEPSTOW, Wales (Reuters) – The ZX Spectrum, a classic 1980s home PC, earned inventor Sir Clive Sinclair a place in Britain’s hi-tech pantheon. Now his nephew Grant is hoping to replicate that success with a build-your-own pocket gaming computer.
The POCO, or Pocket Raspberry Pi Gaming Kit, is little bigger than a smartphone. It comes unassembled but can be snap-fitted together in about 30 minutes.
“You get everything you need to build a pocket gaming computer straight out the box – it’s almost like a puzzle,” Grant Sinclair told Reuters.
As well as a pre-soldered Raspberry Pi motherboard, its small-scale components include a wide-angle camera, loudspeaker, touch screen and control pads.
“Obviously it’s been influenced by my uncle’s work but it’s very different,” Sinclair said.
“…I think a lot of people who are buying the Raspberry Pi are playing games on it, and that’s what really gave me the idea to build a little kit computer that you could build …and then create your own games.”
Despite its diminutive size, Sinclair says POCO is a fully functional PC that allows users to program animations and games using a drag-and-drop interface.
With the first POCOs expected to ship in early 2019, a group of children from a nearby school happily gave the device an early test run.
“Children love to physically build, it helps them learn a lot, they really get inspired…,” said teacher Emma Williams, who runs the cyber club at Wyedean School in Gloucestershire.
“What I like about this device is the fact that they can build, they can program and then they can share… and that is something quite unique in computing at the moment.”
Using POCO, which is retailing for 149 pounds ($189), games can be built during a single school lesson using collaboration from different pupils and even different schools.
Sinclair’s other projects include the Iris eTrike – an electric vehicle for which he may be less keen to use his uncle’s experiences as a template.
Launched in 1985, Clive Sinclair’s much-derided Sinclair C5 was discontinued after minimal sales.
($1 = 0.7893 pounds)
Reporting by Matthew Stock; Editing by Jim Drury and John Stonestreet